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When Trumpets Fade

1998 - DVD
First broadcast on HBO, an explosive film set during one of WWII's most shocking and unforgettable battles - the battle of Hurtgen Forest.

When Trumpets Fade

Heroes are born when bullets fly, when the earth explodes, when cannons roar, WHEN TRUMPETS FADE.

Four rebellious WWII soldiers fight to complete a botched military maneuver in heavy enemy territory.

From the director of Hamburger Hill and The Dogs of War comes an explosive new film set during one of World War II's most shocking and unforgettable battles -- the battle of Hurtgen Forest.

First broadcast on HBO in June of 1998 - shortly before the theatrical release of Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan - this World War II drama offers an equally intimate and devastating study of combat and its tragic aftermath.

Set in Germany during the closing days of the war, the film uses a little-known episode of US military history - the bloody battle of the Hurtgen Forest in the fall of 1944 as the backdrop for the story of a battle-weary private (Ron Eldard) who is the only surviving member of his platoon. Despite his request for dismissal on the grounds of mental disability and shell-shock, he is considered a promising soldier by his superiors, promoted to sergeant, and assigned to command a fresh platoon of young, inexperienced soldiers. The cycle of war continues, and the film ends as it began - with one soldier carrying a mortally wounded comrade from a scene of devastating loss.

A veteran of several war films, director John Irvin emphasizes the gritty, physically exhausting realities of combat with keen attention to detail on location in Hungary. This film is decidedly downbeat but its depiction of warfare is undeniably powerful, earning praise for Irvin and HBO for tackling such an uncompromising project.

The Hürtgen Forest "Meat Grinder"...

Related Scanning WWII dates...

  • 19 Sep 44: The 145-day Battle of Hürtgen Forest begins
  • 01 Oct 44: The Hürtgen "meat grinder" kicks into high gear
  • 10 Feb 45: The Battle of Hürtgen Forest finally ends

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